This week, we went live with the new Research Collection. It’s not an insignificant milestone - it’s the first top level section we’ve launched in our content transition project.
The Research Collection is the first Collection to feature the new hero item.
The new Collection introduces many improvements.
Showcasing a wider range of content
In the new Collection, we’ve introduced different strata for different types of content. This makes it possible to feature, in a consistent way, different items like videos, podcasts or articles from our researchers outside bath.ac.uk platforms. We can now add range and depth to our research content which previously relied heavily on news items and case studies.
As an Editor, I’m slightly in love with our Content Publisher. Creating and featuring content is so much easier than it was in our old system. There are still a couple of things we need to sort out with the workflow before the process is uber smooth, but the editing experience is already hugely improved.
In our research section, we publish both editorial (feature articles and news items) and transactional (downloading documents and information) content. As part of the transition, we spent a lot of time making the transactional content simpler and clearer.
In the new system, the content benefits from better labeling under specific content types, plain English and simpler language in general. A good example of a batch of content we were able to improve like this is the research integrity and ethics content.
So that’s all live now and I’m looking forward to getting some user data to find out how the new section is performing. But before that, I’m going to have a big, well-deserved, glass of wine with colleagues tonight to celebrate.
Sound the trumpets! We recently shipped another iteration of our Research landing page. We're always keeping an eye on the performance of our pages to identify where there's room for improvement. In the past, this has led to updates to the meganav used across the section. This time, it was the landing page that needed some love.
Our previous version of the research landing page
We used Google Analytics and Crazy Egg to see how users were interacting with the page. We discovered many users left the page through the three boxes of links near the top - leaving our featured research unseen at the bottom. The featured research area of the page was a mixture of quotes, links, images and videos. The relationship between the different elements wasn't always clear, making for a confusing visual hierarchy. Updating the features was also a fiddly process. Most of the content was hard-coded into the page. A lack of consistency in titles, image sizes and descriptions meant features could not be swapped interchangeably. The page needed some work inside and out. Our mission was to revise the layout, structure and content of the landing page.
Here's what we came up with.
A responsive page, built with structured content in mind
As part of our recent sprint to update elements of our Research navigation, we scheduled in time to review the analytics after three weeks to give us an early indication of whether our changes had the expected effect.
Spoilers, they did.
I can’t believe it's week five already!
My new place of work!
It’s been an exciting few weeks for me, settling into my new role and exploring this amazing city. I’ve enjoyed spending the days learning new systems and meeting stakeholders, the evenings sight-seeing and discovering many of the fantastic restaurants and coffee shops around the city.
At the end of July, I made the move from sunny Yorkshire to join the team as Web Content Editor for the business and research sections of the site. After working in the Web Team at the University of Hull, I was excited to see how things work in another higher education environment.
So far, I'm really enjoying myself. I’ve been blown away by the friendly and welcoming nature of the team who have all done their best to make sure I settle in - taking me for lunch, helping me with directions and inviting me to join them in after work activities.
For the first few weeks, I've been focusing on the business website. I've buried my head in statistics, audited content and evaluated the journeys of internal and external users. After lots of hard work, I've formulated a plan for the new external-facing business website and have started developing content and mocking-up new homepage designs. Exciting stuff!
There are lots of interesting projects coming up in the next few weeks. I'm very excited about attending my first CS Forum next week in London, with talks from world leaders in content strategy such as Gerry McGovern and Karen McGrane. It’s going to be great learning lots of new ideas we can implement in the near future!
After months of developing, beta testing, feedback and more developing we have launched our research website!
Research is the first of the core sites to be launched as part of the external website project and will be closely followed by study (due for launch in December).
Despite having a research presence before, the site did little to promote the world class research undertaken here at Bath. Unless you drilled down to departments and individual centres and groups our research was difficult to find from our central website. We've also invested a huge amount in a publications repository in recent years but this was invisible to our users.
The new site focusses on exposing this information and promoting it. Led by Web Services we have worked with a number of key stakeholders across the University including our Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research, Jane Millar.
It is the first in a long line of developments and it will evolve over the coming months (and years!) but I am incredibly proud of the team here and what we've achieved.
One down... many, many more to go!